Yarn Buying Co-ops aka Group yarn buys

This may be a “touchy” subject but I am truly puzzled by the concept of Yarn Co-ops. In the last two months I have joined two co-ops (that I learned about here) and have had very unsettling experiences.

I withdrew from the first co-op because an email was sent out that you would be "removed from the list if you did not participate in 2 out of 3 yarn buys. I don’t like being strong armed into buying yarn.

Today I requested removal from another because a buy I had been waiting for for months opened and closed in a matter of hours leaving most of us out in the cold while a select few were able to buy large quantites of yarn.

I understand that the people who organize these do it for little thanks and lots of work. It may sound like sour grapes but is there any co-op out there that isn’t run this way? Do they actually work? I’m just curious about the experience of others.

So I can’t help but be curious, I notice that 66 people have read this post with no response. Are yarn co-ops not something that others participate in or have I asked a question I shouldn’t ask?

I’m one of the ones that read the post but didn’t, obviously comment. I was curious what a knitting co-op was, or wasn’t. I’ve never participated in one so couldn’t add any pro/con comments. I am interested in seeing what they are and how others have faired with them though.

Same here, I did see a thread last Nov about a coop that was taking delivery of some yarn, but I have not been involved in one nor do I know much about them.

I’m another that read and didn’t reply - wondered what a knitting co-op was (I was imaging a quilting circle type - all working together on one project).

Maybe if you called it a yarn buying co-op, as that seems to me what you’re talking about?

Of course I still can’t help - I’ve seen all sorts of buying co-ops (alot run on yahoo groups or similar, for fabric and baby carriers, etc) but have never participated. Sorry to be of so little help.

Well, that is why I asked the questions. The “concept” sounded great. A group of people buy yarn in bulk and presumably get a discount. There had been some comments here about them so I started to lookinto it and found two I joined.

It didn’t turn out as I expected and I am still wondering if it is a valid concept or somehting that doesn’t usually work out.

i participated in a co-op a few months ago. my experience was good. it was my very first and i had just set up my paypal account (that wasn’t cooperating). the hostess was very nice and worked with me to figure everything out. she even contacted the supplier when a skein i wanted somehow didn’t get included. i ended up getting it straight from the supplier at co-op cost.
if you have a strict deadline for getting your yarn, a co-op may not be the way to go unless it’s months away. things can happen like freak ice storms, death in the family, basically anything.
when you join a co-op you have to remember to factor in two shipping fees and usually a co-op fee (probably $1 or $2). it still can be a really good deal.
this is all based on my short experience with co-ops.

I’m another reader/non-poster;) – I’ve just heard of them before.

And clearly can’t type:) – what I meant to say was that I have NEVER heard of them before.

hey ginny! i am pretty sure i am in the same groups. this last buy that opened/closed in a few hours is fairly uncommon as far as i could tell. but i agree with you about the last few co-op owners messages about being moles ect. it sucks. i was pretty mad about the needle buy being screwed up by the manufacturer, and the pull out of the other mmm buy. and all i wanted was a pattern(which i ended up buying direct from the designer instead).

as for the recent buy, i am mad. i totaly think we should have been given a specific open time a few days in advance so it would have been more fair. like i said on the group (prior to her shutting the group down w/o notice :??) that the skein limit pretty much sucked, that the dyer imposed. i can understand a limit/minimum per colorway. but 150 skeins on a group buy? suck suck suckity suck.:!!!:

definite bad taste in my mouth. not sure i’ll be buying from any co-op in along while.:pout:

The only co-op buys I’ve been part of have been really good to me - but I know the woman who typically runs them and she’s a doll and a very good friend. She does her best to be fair, open and honest about everything. So my personal experience with co-op buys has been historically very good.

HOWEVER, I’ve also heard more than a few stories like yours. When it comes to co-op stuff, it really helps to work with people you know and trust. It’s just easier and less sketchy all around in my experience.

I’m sorry you had a cruddy experience, though. That’s sucky.

I really appreciate hearing the experience of others. jeanius80, it was the same group. My intention is not to criticize the group but more to find out if there is any point in pursuing a co-op buy. Yes, it definately sounded like that needle buy and some others had some ROYAL issues.

But from my limited experience the PRICES don’t even seem to be that good. I LOVE buying yarn (who here doesn’t) and if I can save a little great not at the expense of being harrassed and disappointed!!!

Another one who read and didn’t post before - waiting for more info on the topic as I’d never heard of a yarn co-op before and had a hard time visualizing how it would work. Still don’t know, but it sure doesn’t sound like anything I’m too anxious to pursue.

My sister is in a food co-op - I know she and her DH have to work so many hours at the farm over “X” time period, then they get “X” amount of free/discount produce. Trying to turn this into a yarn deal, and just can’t see how it would work.

It’s not the same as a food co-op, it’s just where people pool their orders and send them to the yarn co/distributor all at once. They get a discount because of the one bulk order instead of several smaller ones.

I do belong to one co-op and have had good experience with it, but the other two I DID belong to (the same two you are talking about) I didn’t and WON’T participate in for the same reason. Having a “co-op” or “group buy” or whatever you want to call it open for only a few hours is complete crap. I was really pissed that I missed out on the IBK because I had just read the board a few days before when she said it would be a while before the posted the databse. I guess you have to sit on the computer with nothing else to do if you want to catch those things.

Well, I was really excited about IBK yarn… I have sent an email to IBK to find out about purchasing yarn independently but so far haven’t heard back. Their web site says that all the yarn is out of stock but they will have more “after the first of the year”. I couldn’t even find any prices!!!

surely it defeats the purpose of bulk buying, by limiting the number of people who participate - surely the more people you get the cheaper it will be for all??? Sounds suspicious!

Well, in this paticular instance the limit was placed by the seller. It is a failrly small handpainted yarn company and I can understand that they would be overwhelmed. But what happened was there was no notice of when the “buy” would start and MANY had been waiting on pins and needles for it. Basically it was opened without notice and the available yarn was scooped up by those who just happened to be sitting on their computer.

In my opinion (and who really cares) a notice that the buy was going to start at ___ time on ___ day should have been sent out with at least 24 hours notice. But no one asked me!

From what I have seen thus far, it doesn’t really seem to be a paticularly good deal. You get a % off the cost of the yarn but by the time you pay the co-op fee and the cost of postage for the host you have not really saved that much.

i agree Ginny and Mom…
I think, it’s best with 3IG (unless you really need it) to signup for their newsletter, and just use the discount they offer (it was like 15% in Nov, and you don’t have the double shipping thing as with a co-op/group buy) I do know that 3IG has a group and is a member of Ravelry too, and she posted recently that they were off on ‘holiday’ so hopefully soon, the store will be back up in stock. I am so kicking myself that i didn’t order the 3 skeins back in November… I too was patiently waiting for the group buy to open. :sigh: